Three Simple Family Routines to Make You More Productive at Work: Striking the Ideal Work-Life Balance

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"The most important work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home." – Harold B. Lee, American religious leader and educator. I find it amusing that some of my colleagues claim the concept of work/life balance is dead. It's not that they all believe you should give up on having a personal life if you want to get ahead at work, though this sometimes seems to be the subtext. Most simply believe work and the rest of life have become so intertwined we can't pull them apart, so we have no choice but to respond to email and Facebook requests on the beach or while doing laundry or dining with the family. Hogwash. Having boundaries and balancing work and the rest of life is absolutely crucial for your sanity, especially when you want to have a life once you retire. Besides, … [Read more...]

Seven Tips for Sick Days: Producing Even When You’re Under the Weather

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"I see sick parents and kids every day. I also know many people who go to work sick because they don't have paid sick days. Having paid sick days would prevent the spread of illness and make sure people are not penalized for staying home when they are sick." — Dr. Ben Danielson, Seattle pediatrician. Although it would be awesome to actually stay home sick whenever you feel bad, it's not always possible. PTO tends to be limited in even the best of companies, and it takes just one bout of the flu to wipe it out. Many supervisors also look askance at people calling in sick, suspicious of faking, resulting in a chilling effect on the truly ill. And many people simply have no choice but to go in no matter how we feel, because our teams depend on us—and there's always some deadline bearing do … [Read more...]

The Twelve Steps to Activity-Goal Alignment; Or, How to Get Where You Want to Go

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"When it is obvious that a goal cannot be reached, do not adjust the goal; adjust your course."—attributed to Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher. When available, I enjoy watching the TV screens on the seat back in front of me, showing the plane’s current location and route, including the dozen subtle adjustments the pilot made along the way. The road to achieving any goal is like that airplane's flight. Activity-goal alignment requires you to constantly monitor your goals and repeatedly make adjustments to your course. Of course, this assumes you know what your goals are. Hitting your work goals isn't necessarily a complex process, but it does break down into a surprising number of steps you need to take into account before you can make any real headway. Just jumping in and ins … [Read more...]

Five Ways to Discover What’s Not in The Handbook: Unearthing Your Company’s Unwritten Rules

Five Ways to Discover What's Not in The Handbook: Unearthing Your Company's Unwritten Rules by Laura Stack #productivity

"The unwritten rule when it comes to salary is this: whoever proposes a number first loses." – Travis Bradberry, American author on emotional intelligence. If you’ve “been around the block” for a while, you may have had to take Total Quality Management (TQM) courses. One of TQM's tenets is that you should always feel free to make suggestions you think will profit the company. A colleague told me a story about raising his hand in a meeting and making a suggestion his previous company had profited from—and was soundly ignored. As it turned out, the department VP considered TQM a total waste of time. When he was ridiculed for making a suggestion to one of the department's managers, it became clear those in power didn't appreciate employee suggestions, no matter how logical. He stopped bothe … [Read more...]

Six Signs It’s Time to Quit: How to Know When to Move On

Six Signs It's Time to Quit: How to Know When to Move On by Laura Stack #productivity

"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."—Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. We've had it drummed into us a thousand times to keep trying, to fail forward, to fail fast, that you really only fail when you quit, and that Thomas Edison never failed—he just found 10,000 ways that didn't work, etc. etc. I've said those things to my children myself, and for most business decisions, they're sound advice. When you quit trying, you disengage from your job. When that causes you to let productivity go into the toilet, then you really have fai … [Read more...]

Announcing the next course in Laura Stack’s Productivity University Series!

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Become a Microsoft Outlook Email Cracker-Jack with Laura Stack! Managing Your Workflow and Keeping Your Inbox Empty Start 2017 with an empty inbox! Participate in five one-hour training sessions with Laura and then complete assignments in between. You’ll receive a detailed workbook for each session with screen shots and step-by-step instructions, as well as a recording of the session to review again and again. Don’t worry if you can’t attend the sessions live or miss one, because you can watch the recording any time you wish. Five Mondays starting 11/14 at 10:00 to 11:00 AM mountain (i.e., 9:00 Pacific, 10:00 Mountain, 11:00 Central, 12:00 Eastern) 11/14 11/21 11/28 12/5 12/12 You need this course if you currently: Put things to do on your calendar Use your … [Read more...]

Seven Productivity Boosting Foods and Drinks: Improving Brain Power Though Biology

even Productivity Boosting Foods and Drinks: Improving Brain Power Though Biology by Laura Stack #productivity

"You are what you eat."—Traditional English-language axiom. You probably know by now that staying hydrated and eating well are excellent ways to ensure high levels of productivity, because the better you feel, the easier it is to be productive. But did you know that specific foods and beverages can actually make you more productive than normal when eaten regularly and in moderation? ( … [Read more...]

Six Ways to Nag Without Seeming To: How to Make Sure Your Work Process Keeps Flowing

Six Ways to Nag Without Seeming To: How to Make Sure Your Work Process Keeps Flowing

"I never say 'nagging.' I think that 'nagging' is a term that men created to get women to pipe down some. But it's a trap that we've created…Nagging means to stop asking me questions." – Steve Harvey, American comedian and actor. Nagging doesn't really work well, in or out of the office—not when people see it for what it is. For one thing, most people don't care to be told what to do, especially by those at or below their level in a hierarchy; for another, they hate to be pestered, especially when they feel they have plenty of time to get something done. Some people see nagging as a threat to their freedom. They especially dislike the manager who constantly reminds them of things they need to do, because they view it as micromanaging—as it may be. That's certainly not the case when … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Hone Your Decisiveness: Evading the Curse of Indecision

Five Reasons to Hone Your Decisiveness: Evading the Curse of Indecision

"Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all." – Brian Tracy, American motivational speaker and writer One of the productivity topics I see discussed repeatedly in the business world is the issue of decisiveness. You'd think there would be some consensus on how to achieve it by now, but every guru seems to have his or her own process. Some will tell you to trust your instincts and make snap judgments. Others insist you build team consensus first, while still others suggest you get all your ducks in a row, then take massive action. To some extent, they could all be correct, depending upon the circumstances and your depth of knowledge about those circumstances. However, the one thing they all agree on is … [Read more...]

Watch Laura In Action

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